Vidyala over at Manaliciou posted a "Then & Now" theme a couple of weeks ago which I intended to get to, but to find some screen-shots I wanted to use, I had to boot-up a machine that hadn't seen the light of day since 2007. Still, it was worth digging through it just for the one image I did want, and remembered, and yes, it was there.
Now, keep in mind that my Paladin who has been my main focus since the day Wrath launched was not my first character. Or second. Or third. But my Paladin is my main at this point, and forever more, and that's the history I'll be tracking.
I rolled my first character, a human Mage, in the summer of 2007, got him to ~50 or so and shortly thereafter, a human Warrior and got him ~40 or so, before my wife who was my leveling partner took a break in late 2007. I decided to wait for her, and rolled a Night Elf Druid to play on my own and got him all the way up to 70 in early 2008, before the other two even reached Outland.
My Druid was my first love, and I played the hell out of him all through TBC, and sometime in mid-2008, while rolling through Z'A on my Druid, I rolled my Paladin to pass the time after raiding with a couple of them and enjoying their flashy spells, especially compared to the dull bears (remember, this was pre-reskin, when bears were horrifically ugly and boring to look at). I loved the Druid class, but didn't enjoy being in a shape-shifted form all the time and I wanted to look at all my shiny Tier 4 stuff, damnit!
Paladins pre-Wrath were a very strange affair - there were multiple Judgments and multiple Seals which interacted with each other in strange ways, the Seals had a very short duration and there were just an insane number of Blessings, no taunt other than Righteous Defense, spell-power was a think we had to worry about... anyway, it was a pain, but I enjoyed the look and feel of the class regardless.
Here's the oldest picture I could find of Joachim, somewhere in the late 40s, early 50s, having chopped off the head of an ogre and stuck it on a post while giving a thumbs-up. As you do.
I liked the look of a baldy-face and I had to have a Van Dyke just to hide that horrible lip-curl that Human males have. When patch 3.0 hit and all the huge Paladin changes came down, I just fell in love with the class and despite myself, leveled him to 70 first and began raiding in earnest, even joining my first hard-core 25-person raiding guild during Ulduar. Here he is, having grown a lot of hair and letting his beard down for the cold Continent, decked out in a set of T9, hanging out with some Sentinels.
During T10, I made a brief, ill-advised foray into Horde territory, though I have to admit, Joachim looked pretty damned hot as a Blood-Elf.
But that couldn't last and he reverted to his dumpy human self shortly thereafter. Here he is, with the Turtles guild, all surrounded by friends and, um, turtles, at our first guild kill of Lichy. It's so heartwarming to know that I still raid or know the majority of the people in this picture.
After playing a Blood Elf and seeing the awesome animations and smooth textures of the higher quality model, humans became even more difficult to put up with. Besides, my RP days were behind me, I had a lot of trouble staying with the character, so I wrote him a farewell and with Cataclysm, made the biggest change yet.
Joachim was dead, and I created Innana a female Draenei. I loved this look and honestly wish I could have stayed with it.
Alas, it was not to be. With no lore forthcoming for the Draenei after the announcement of Pandas, I had to revert back to the base race for the Alliance for the sake of story and immersion. I need to feel like my character (and I) have a huge, vested interest in the world and setting, and are really, really committed and I don't feel like the Draenei have that going for them at all except for Valen saying "Trust me."
So back to the base races again but which one? The Dwarves were too silly for me, so I elected to became human again. Only human again.
This is how I looked last night when I logged out.
I think I've finally settled on something that makes me happy - being Alliance feels like home, and being Human give me plenty of immersion and story and incentive to do things in game. The human female is a world better than the human male and my armor looks fantastic.
For the first time since I faction-transferred to the Horde, I'm finally satisfied with my character. I can't imagine changing again, but based on my past, who can say!
Thanks again to Vidyala for an awesome theme. I had a lot of fun parsing through tons of screen-shots to make this.